Ask the doctors
I was washing my hands frequently over the winter and they are still dry and cracking. Can you offer some tips that might help?
A. You're not alone. Many people have been washing more diligently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While good hand hygiene is important, it can quickly dry out the skin on your hands.
To keep your skin hydrated, turn down the water temperature when washing. Warm water dries out skin less than hot water does. You can even use cold water, as long as you work the soap into a lather. Also, moisturize your skin with a heavy hand cream right after washing. Apply the cream when your skin is still slightly damp.
To help your dry and cracked skin heal, also consider an extra nighttime treatment. Apply a thick moisturizer or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to your hands before bed. Then put a pair of cloth gloves, or even a pair of clean socks, on your hands. This allows the moisturizer to work as you sleep.
Keeping your hands clean is an effective way to stay healthy, and washing hands with soap and water is a perfect way to do that. When soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with alcohol, which will kill most germs.
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